Why, God?

by Bob Dasal

2005 has been quite a year! It could easily leave you feeling numb. Natural disasters this year include the tsunami in the Pacific, the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, the flooding in the northeast United States and Central America, the earthquake in central Asia, plus we have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorists' attacks in London, Indonesia, Iraq, Russia—and Israel, and that's just to name a few.

Loss of life in these disasters [both natural and man-made] is being measured in multiplied thousands and the cost to repair all the damages will be in the billions-upon-billions-of-dollars range. All parts of the globe are experiencing disasters and the question being asked is, "Where is God?"

Most everyone has had these questions cross their mind. Where's God when disaster hits? Where's God in time of illness? Where's God when you need Him? If He could, why didn't God stop these things from happening?

The answer people give to these questions reflects the truth of something found in Joe McKeever's article, "Katrina Victims Fear Compassion Fatigue," on page 16: "A professor at our seminary (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) looked at the ruins of his home and said, I suppose this develops our character.' Someone else said, Rather it reveals it.'" McKeever wrote, "Storms and stresses of life uncover the masks and camouflages and defenses we so carefully construct, leaving the real us' exposed to the world. Who you are under great stress is the real you. For good or for bad."

Is it accurate to say God causes disasters as judgment? There are some who honestly hold to that view. We need to understand what the Bible teaches about judgment. Let's consider three examples: In Genesis we find God's judgment that brought the Flood (Gen. 6:7-8), and His judgment that resulted in the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24). Exodus 7-11 tells of God's judgment upon Egypt with the ten plagues.

Now, these biblical examples were judgments from God, but they are different from the events of this year. What are the differences? The three judgments in Scripture were each preceded by a warning. They were directed toward the wicked, and the righteous were protected or given a way of escape. Our present-day natural disasters were no respecter of persons. Good and bad, innocent and guilty, young and old were hit if they were in the path of the disasters. I've seen pictures of churches destroyed as well as casinos.

If these were not judgments, what were they? Matthew 24: 7-8 says: "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."

These events are not judgments but signs of the times. God is calling us to repentance and telling us not to get attached to the things of the world because the future is uncertain. Hope, security, and peace come from being rightly related to the Sure Foundation—the Lord Jesus Christ. At Christmas time we joyfully celebrate His first coming and expectantly look forward to His coming again—and all signs say it could be SOON!

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